Friday, March 18, 2016

Xbox chief: Company party’s hired dancers “not consistent with our values”

Gaming industry parties and events used to be dominated with scantily clad models, nearly all of which were female, to promote games and get attendees' attention. Thanks to criticism and larger conversations about gender parity in the industry, that trend has since plummeted in the West. And all of that made a single exception at this year's Game Developers Conference so notable.

On Thursday night, Microsoft hosted a private, Xbox-branded party that included a number of women provocatively dressed in cleavage- and midriff-baring shirts, thigh-high stockings, and short, Xbox-green skirts, all dancing on pedestals to electronic music. The scene, which was filmed by a partygoer and posted to Twitter, resembled something from an average Tales From The Crypt nightclub scene.

The following morning, Xbox chief Phil Spencer sent a memo to the entire Xbox division of Microsoft, which confirmed that the party was "Xbox-hosted," as opposed to pawned off to some other external organizer. Spencer's letter also unequivocally spoke to attendees who complained about being uncomfortable at the party.

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